Stillitano talks International Champions Cup TV rights, MLS involvement and player availability

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The 2016 edition of the International Champions Cup, a soccer tournament featuring many of the world’s greatest teams, will return to North America and Europe this summer and will feature 12 games, said Charlie Stillitano, co-founder and chairman of Relevent Sports, in an interview with World Soccer Talk Radio.

“This year, we should have 12 games between the US and Europe.

“I think we’re going to have our strongest lineup yet.

“We’re going to be in the major cities, New York, LA and Chicago but there’s going to be some surprise venues also, some new venues.

“We know that we’ve really have to had the best lineup we’ve ever if we’re going to compete with those two events (Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016). Not just for competition with spectators, but certainly for sponsor dollars and TV interest, you want to capitalize on all of the soccer going on this summer.”

Meanwhile, there will most likely be a change in the TV rights for the International Champions Cup, which is in its fourth year.

“We’re very close to making a decision.

“We actually have major networks fighting over our property. It’s an interesting property because there’s a block of time when there’s no football (from late July to early August).

“We should have our broadcast partner within the next two weeks.

“I think it’s safe to say that all three (NBC, FOX and ESPN) are in the running. We’ve had offers, and we’re sorting through which one would be better for the future of the ICC. It may not come down to a money figure.”

Regarding player availability, Stillitano is confident that many of the world-class stars will be participating.

“[The International Champions will be] going to late July, early August, so we don’t think the Centenario will effect us at all,” said Stillitano. “We’ve spoken to teams and gotten their guarantee regarding some popular South American players. It’s more difficult to guarantee players that are in the finals of the Euros. But what we have found is that, for example, we’re sort of locked in to end our tournament around August 6. We have a lot of teams that are still in the Champions League. If they win the Champions League, we have the UEFA Super Cup which is August 9th or 10th. We have to be finished by August 6, as one of those teams could absolutely be participating in the UEFA Super Cup.

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